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Stockport Council faces further cuts

by Iain Roberts on 21 December, 2012

Stockport Council faces more cutting over the next two years.

Over the last couple of years we’ve cut around £32 million from the Council budget after the then-Labour government first made it clear to us that we’d have to save between £40million and £70million over four years.

We’re still in that area, with the total savings over four years now looking to be around £60 million.

For 2013/14 we’re looking to make savings of about £15million, with the same for 2014/15.  We’ve already brought forward proposals for about half of that £30 million and consulted on them.  We need to identify further savings over the next few months and it’s not getting easier!

  • We’re looking at every way to make savings, including seeing whether we can share staff and services with other councils (we already do this in many areas, it may be possible to do more).
  • We’re proposing raising Council Tax by 2.5% – the first rise in three years – as an alternative to adding several million more onto the savings total.
  • I think it’s important that councillors are looking at what we can do.  The cost of councillors is falling: our allowances have been frozen for several years and will fall next year.  Our expenses are down.  Sue Derbyshire – the Lib Dem leader of the Council – has announced that the cost of the Executive will come down by 20% next year.

9 Responses

  1. Robert Taggart says:

    As one has said before – CUT COUNCILLORS.
    The need for three councillors per constituency be a’luxury’ we can do without.
    The need for sixty-three councillors in total be a ‘nightmare’ we can do without !
    Oldham MBC cut their numbers by one third two years back – Stocky should follow their lead.

  2. Iain Roberts says:

    Robert – I don’t know where this myth about Oldham has come from, but they did not cut their councillors by a third. Have a look at their website if you want to check!

  3. Robert Taggart says:

    This ‘myth’ was widely reported on the regional television a year or two back.
    Perhaps the ‘knife’ will only ‘cut in’ when that one third of seats next comes up for re-election ?

    Anyway, our suggestion still stands, over to you !

  4. Iain Roberts says:

    Widely reported or not, it’s still clearly untrue.

  5. DAVID HOWSON says:

    iagree with ROBERT time to consider amore cost effective way of operatlng the concil come on IAIN move wih the times

  6. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi David,

    I can promise you we spent a great deal of our time coming up with more cost effective ways to operate the council. That’s how we’ve been able to save over £30 million with relatively minimal effects on public services so far.

    The cost of councillors is a part of that – albeit a small one – which is why we’ve already cut the cost of councillors and we’re proposing to cut it further over the next couple of years.

  7. Frederick Kenny says:

    I note the propossal

    “We’re proposing raising Council Tax by 2.5% – the first rise in three years – as an alternative to adding several million more onto the savings total.”

    According to the government website money is being made available for councils to keep to a zero increase. Something nearly everyone wants. In going for an increase I understand the council will miss out on approximately £1.5m.

    Also Pickles has changed the referendum criteria to 2% so we will all get a vote on the proposed increase if it is 2.5%.


    Can you confirm you are not taking up this additional funding and that the lib dem policy is therefore to be required to hold a referendum? *(or alternatively to keep it to 2% which means you gain hardly any money over the additional funding offered?).

    If this is the case what is the logic of refusing money to get a small net extra income at considertable cost to long suffering tax payers?

  8. Iain Roberts says:

    The Govt offer is a partially funded one (1% over two years) so if we took it, we would have to make millions of pounds of extra cuts above what we’re already facing. It is an option, and I’ve no doubt there will be people who want the cuts to be made to save a few pence a week. I understand that position, but disagree with it.

    The referendum position is a little confusing – our understanding is that the 2% doesn’t apply to metropolitan boroughs like ours because of the effect of the levies we pay (e.g. for fire, police and waste); and that the level at which Stockport would trigger a referendum is higher than 2% (but not as high as Manchester, which we think could go to 8% without triggering a referendum).

  9. Frederick Kenny says:

    Its interesting to see how these things actually work.

    However, it seems to me that refusing money is never a good thing particularly as the net revenue from the proposed increased council tax is so small.

    Also a few pence a week is not the facts in my case as its would be over a £1 a week which in my view should not be dismissed so lightly.

    Finally, if the approach is to increase the council tax to the maximum so as not to trigger a referendum where is the confidence in local politicians that the services really are of value and that the electorate would back them with a much larger increase capable of reducing or even eliminating the cuts altogether? (no limit if approved by the electorate).

    I hope the lib dems will reconsider this proposed increase which i believe is completely against the current tone of having to reduce public spending given the country cannot afford these levels any further. Putting increases on people who are often not having income rises is pretty unpleasant in my view when we already pay so much tax and many of us feel we get very little in return.

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